Basics - Learning to draw animals

At this point I would like to comment on the question "How do you best learn to draw animals?". It is not yet about a specific animal, but in the first step only about the basics and the different ways to the goal of drawing animals. The article is aimed primarily at beginners in the field of drawing animals, but could also be interesting for advanced drawers.

Learning to draw animals

There are different approaches to learn how to draw animals. There is no single and best method. It is often a question whether somebody prefers to draw with the help of a photo or likes to go outside into the nature. Or should you rather first carry out an anatomical study and roll zoological literature?

Learn to draw animals
Drawing of a deer

Draw animals from photographs

The problem with drawing animals is that these subjects are moving quiet often. They run around, turn around in a circle and usually look in the wrong direction. When they stop, they are mostly curled or lie tired on the ground.

This makes the drawing of animals from photographs quite practical. You can look at the shapes of the body, skin structures, muscles, and other details quietly. You can draw and compare you picture again with the photo. Thus, the drawer can also study the fundamentals of the anatomy of a certain animal species. Unfortunately, the feeling for the movement and the essence of an animal is lost.
Photos are therefore particularly suitable for anatomical studies. When you wish to move on with your art you might dare to take the next step to draw animals in nature.

Sketching animals
Sketch of a jellyfish

Draw animals in nature

For many artists there is no alternative to drawing in nature - this also applies to animal drawings. Particularly when drawing animals, the artist has the advantage to get much more intense impressions on the living model. It is possible to study the movement and behavior. You can see certain details that may be lost in a photo. This direct observation is probably irreplaceable for the drawing of animals.

As a beginner, you will find it difficult, because you have to assimilate the impressions very quickly and have to sketch very fast. It is necessary to recognize forms and proportions quickly and to put them on paper. It is not particularly bad, however, if the proportions were not 100% correctly illustrated, but in return the character of an animal is caught. Right?
Drawing on the living model is especially recommended for animal studies.

Learning to draw animals
Sketch of a lion

Conclusion - Learning to draw animals

The most beautiful way to draw animals is certainly to work in the open nature with the living model bevor the eyes. This way is, of course, a certain challenge - especially for beginners. But even those should try to learn how to draw animals and not just simply to draw them.
Photography can not convey the experiences that are captured by drawing in front of the living subject.

Drawing of a chameleon (with colored pencils)

The drawing of photographs is especially useful when it is about naturalistic reproduction and less about expression. The drawing of different animals from a template, helps to learn the basis of the form and the physique. This makes it easier for a beginner to start the animal drawing.
In this sense, I have also written the online tutorials on how to draw animals on this website. They should train the basic knowledge about the approach and basic knowledge about anatomy. I would also like to help all the drawing beginners to develop an observation skill on the characteristics of the different animals, and hope that I succeed.

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